The holiday aspect of Mother's Day weekend was fairly low-key, what with both kids being off at college. It was very much like most weekends, except with flowers and an unexpected bicycling snafu.
Remember the coughing problem I mentioned a few weeks ago, where I would spend so much time clearing my throat that it felt like I was drowning for wetness and lack of air? That got really, really bad while bicycling last Saturday and Sunday. I slowed way down a couple of times to recuperate, but it didn't help at all. Both rides were exhausting gasp-fests where I couldn't maintain anything like my usual speed, and I was wiped out afterwards.
The change felt like it happened overnight, and it reminded me of an episode of walking pneumonia I had fifteen years ago. By Monday, I was tired and gasping from just driving to work and sitting at my desk, and didn't have enough air to sing in the car. I emailed my doctor and talked to the advice nurse, and went in for a chest x-ray and blood tests. The x-ray was clear, which surprised me-- I'd started to think the gunk in my lungs might be coming up from below, rather than draining from above.
After a phone appointment with an on-call doctor, I got a prescription for an inhaler and an antiobiotic (the coughing and wetness problem was 2 months old by then). The inhaler really helped--the coughing was much more productive after using it. I saw my doctor the next day, and she thought everything was probably related to the nasal allergy-like symptoms. I'm not so sure... After a few days of the antiobiotic and inhaler, I felt much better and could breathe a lot easier, and that drop off in cycling performance was sudden and extreme. So, I'm less convinced.
My EKG results looked normal, and I have a cardiac stress test later this week--and an ENT follow-up down the road. Who knows what might show up with the stress test? Nothing, I hope. I'm still leaning toward it having been some kind of infection that has now gotten better.
Meanwhile, the doctor is going with a diagnosis of exercise-induced asthma (which is why I had an inhaler 15 years ago, though I stopped needing it after 8-9 months). The inhaler sure helps, so I'll keep using it even though I don't think we've found the root cause of the problem at all.
Thanks to more late rain AGAIN, I was only able to get outside to ride last Friday and today, and I definitely feel better though not yet 100%. I've certainly overcome some core incompetencies involving the use of inhalers. I have to concentrate every time I use it, but now I mostly inhale the blast, rather than blocking half of it with my tongue or pulling it out too soon and letting it vaporize the air. \o?
So, to summarize: way too much of the wrong kind of excitement, which I hope is on the way out now. And I'd better scale back my mileage pledge for May Is Bike Month, because it was clearly too ambitious vs. what the reality is shaping up to be. :O